Of Presidents and Precedents

Some thoughtful words from the President of the United States:

“We have come to the clear realization of the fact that individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

“In our days these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all – regardless of station, race or creed.

“Among these are:

– The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

– The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

– The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

– The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home and abroad;

– The right of every family to a decent home;

– The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

– The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

– The right to a good education.

“All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

“For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

Obama said something that sensible? Of course he didn’t. It was FDR who gave that meaningful talk – and long before you were born, no doubt. FDR didn’t stop there, however. He backed up his words by creating millions of jobs through his Emergency Shipbuilding Programs, thus making it possible for Americans to achieve the “security and prosperity” promised in the Bill of Rights.